International communication research probes how media systems operate within and between nations.
Within nations, media are studied as important social institutions that affect how other institutions function. Increasingly, media operate between nations, creating important information flows that have many purposes and consequences. The rise of satellite communications and the Internet have dramatically altered the nature and flow of information worldwide.
During the Cold War, study of international communication focused on comparing and contrasting media in the Eastern Bloc nations with those in the West. Research also examined the flow of information between developed and developing nations. The potential for mass media to accelerate economic, social and political development was studied. With the end of the Cold War and the rise of powerful new media, the focus of international communication research has changed. Increasingly, media are studied as an important element in the creation of civil society and as a means of facilitating certain forms of social and economic development. For example, considerable attention is focusing on use of media to promote awareness of health risks and how to deal with these risks. The potential for media to increase or impede understanding of other nations and cultures is also studied.
International communication research in the College takes many forms and uses a broad range of qualitative and quantitative research methods-from survey and focus group research to content analysis. A variety of theories is used to guide international communication research. For example, research examining media and development continues to be structured by diffusion theories but these theories are supplemented by other approaches including framing theories, civil society theories and various information transmission and opinion formation theories.
Within the College of Communications, the study of international communication often overlaps with research in other areas, especially political communication and telecommunications. For example, research looking at media and political development overlaps with political communication while research on media and economic development overlaps with telecommunications.
Example Research Topics
- Comparative study of new media use in Germany, South Africa, Japan and the U.S.
- Study of women’s magazines in Morocco
- Research on how news media in the U.S. and China framed coverage of world economic conferences;
- Research on the rise of new media and information society in India
- Critical analyses of recent copyright law development in Korea and Taiwan
- Assessment of a health communication campaign in Puerto Rico.